Cybercrime is real! We live in a digital age where most of our communication, information and purchases are accomplished over the internet or on our phones. Almost every generation alive today is tech savvy, from our three-year-olds to our grandparents. So it makes sense that this online frontier would be a space that is ripe for fraud and criminal activity. In fact, we hear about it in the news almost every week! Awareness and extra precautions may not take care of all the risks, but they are our best prevention. It’s important to have good security practices in place for all your tech devices.
What is cybercrime?
Cybercrime is a term that refers specifically to a crime committed on the internet via email or Facebook or even by telephone. As adults, we may feel we can spot a cyber criminal pretty quickly, but you may be surprised. Personal information is not so difficult to come by these days, and the criminals out there are good at their craft. It’s reported that some take in up to $10,000 a day via wire transfers. Even if you are not duped, this may not be the case for your aging parents who may be sensitive and unsuspecting. When a call comes in that ‘Johnny’ is in jail, and ‘he’ gets on the phone and begs Grandpa not to tell Dad, just send money … well, there you have it. Grandpa to the rescue!
Keep it safe with passwords
That is not our only problem when it comes to our tech practices. We all have passwords. In fact, we all have too many passwords if you ask me! Passwords are the only way to keep our accounts private and safe. The problem is that passwords don’t always accomplish their end goal. We change them frequently, we are creative, but then we need to reset because we can’t remember them …. oh the agony!
So, is there a solution to the cybercrime conundrum? Here are a few tips.
- Discuss the possibility of this type of crime with your family, especially the grandparents. Make sure they are aware of these scams, and encourage them to call you immediately should anything like this happen.
- If you get a call from a family member in need of a wire transfer, ask questions only a family member would know. You can keep a list of these questions by the phone since thinking on the spot may be tough. What was the name of your first dog? What is your favorite type of pie or favorite color?
- Don’t send money via wire transfer or prepaid card in response to an unexpected phone call. If loaning or giving money to a family member is something you often do or plan to do, it should be talked about, not rushed into. These are two different scenarios. No rush transfers should be made.
- Limit the information you post online. This is a tough one. It seems like we are open books on the internet. If you want to find out just how much information is out there on you, “google” yourself. Cyber criminals dig deeper than you might, but you may be surprised how much someone can find out about you pretty easily.
- Make your password a sentence. A strong password is a sentence with at least 12 characters. It should be easy to remember. Like, “I like springtime in Chicago 16.” You may or may not be able to use spaces, but you get the point.
- Have a separate password for every account. Although it’s easier to keep them the same, it’s not as safe.
- Write it down and keep it safe. You need to keep your passwords where you can find them and update them as needed. There are password sites out there, that you will need a password for, but they keep your passwords all in one place and easy to access. Otherwise you will need to have a list and be sure to keep it current. Updating passwords periodically is advisable as well.
- Two step authentication is also known as multi-factor authorization. This can be in the form of a text message to your phone or a token or even your fingerprint to provide enhanced account security.
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Don’t fall prey to today’s cybercrime predators. Call Presto Real Estate Services at (630) 336-1820 or write firstname.lastname@example.org today for more information and support. Guard yourself and your hard-earned money with a passion.